Affidavit on Kasaragod cell must be filed in two weeks

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the State government to file an affidavit clarifying the points raised by the Kasaragod District Collector regarding the formation of a Kasaragod district-level cell for coordinating rehabilitation and welfare measures of endosulfan victims.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice K. Vinod Chandran also directed the government to inform it the number of meetings held by the district-level cell after its formation. The court ordered that the affidavit be filed within two weeks.

The directives came on a writ petition seeking a directive to the government to take follow-up actions on the welfare and rehabilitation measures of the endosulfan victims.

In his petition, B.C. Kumaran of Kasaragod said that the government order forming the district-level cell was issued on October 15, 2011. However, there had not been any follow-up action since then. The cell was headed by the Agricultural Minister and the Kasaragod District Collector was its convener. In fact, the Collector had sought certain clarifications on the members included in the cell. The cell, therefore, had not been met even once and no welfare measure had been implemented. The petitioner also alleged that the Centre had not provided any funds for giving compensation to the victims.

Earlier, the government had said in a statement that it had taken earnest steps to identify the real victims and rehabilitate them. The government was also ready to award the compensation as suggested by the National Human Rights Commission. The commission had recommended a compensation of Rs.5 lakh each to the dependents of those who had died as well as to those who has been bedridden due to exposure to endosulfan. The commission had also recommended a compensation of Rs.3 lakh each to those who sustained severe injuries. The government also submitted that measures such as free ration, medical treatment etc. had been provided to endosulfan victims.